Kopi Luwak, an excrement-based coffee
With a price on the market easily reaching EUR 750 per kilo, Kopi Luwak is a much higher value than gold or vanilla and whose annual world production does not exceed tonne. What is the secret that justifies its price?
It is simply the use (without risk!) Of an animal in the manufacturing process of the Kopi Luwak, and an unusual use since it is to recover the coffee beans contained in the Excrement of the civet. Indeed, the Indonesian civet, whose name in Indonesia is Kopi Luwak, is a small animal living in coffee and extremely fond of coffee beans. However, the digestive system of Kopi Luwak does not allow it to degrade all the coffee beans, they are only partially deteriorated by enzymes and gastric acids and undergo a fermentation during the journey in the intestine of the Kopi Luwak .
It is thanks to this process of gastric fermentation that the Kopi Luwak coffee gets its extraordinary sweet flavor.
Experiences around the Luwak
With a production of less than one tonne per year, Kopi Luwak is a rare coffee. Therefore, food process researchers have examined the case of Kopi Luwak coffee, attempting to reproduce the enzymatic treatments it undergoes during its degradation in the intestine of the civet. No result. Massimo Marcone, a Canadian researcher at the University of Guelph, seeing his vain and unnecessary research on Kopi Luwak's research, decided to look for another place in the world that would bring coffee and civets together. He discovered this place in Ethiopia, a country already famous for its Arabica coffee production.
Hope around the excrements of the Luwak
The idea seemed good, but the result was not what was expected. The reason is the difference in digestive tract between the Indonesian civet and the African civet, the Kopi Luwak. Disappointment for Massimo Marcone who left in search of his famous nectar, the Kopi Luwak.
To obtain the famous Kopi Luwak, it is therefore necessary to recover kernels of Kopi Luwak, that the civets have not totally digested. This partial degradation of the coffee gives it all its exceptional flavor, mixture of earth, caramel and chocolate. However, it seems that the Indonesian civet has the exclusivity of the production of this rare coffee, the experiments with the African civets for obtaining Kopi Luwak did not give the desired results.
Café Kopi Luwak and its exorbitant price
Several reasons justify the very high price of coffee Kopi Luwak, 750 euros per kilo:
- Rarity. Cultivated in the island of Irian-Jaya in eastern Indonesia, production of coffee Kopi Luwak and coffee in general is very low in the Indonesian archipelago. While Indonesia has long been the world's largest supplier of coffee, natural disasters have overcome its hegemony, reducing coffee production to tiny amounts.
- The excrement of the civet (or Kopi Luwak) .Used in perfumery for the musk it produces, in peausserie for its fur, the civette Indonesian is also very sought after for its excrements. Fruit fried, the civet especially cherishes coffee cherries without being able to digest the nucleus. In spite of everything, the gastric enzymes slightly distort the seeds of Kopi Luwak, giving it its peculiar aroma
- The peculiarity of its aromas which combine musc, chocolate, caramel with a pleasant smell reminiscent of argan
- A marketing operation. If you can find a coffee from African civet excrement at a very affordable price, it has nothing to do with the famous Kopi Luwak of the Indonesian civet.
Café Kopi Luwak, caramel notes, a chocolate flavor, a powerful bouquet
Caramel notes. A chocolate flavor. A strong bouquet with very strong fragrances. Experts from around the world agree: Kopi Luwak is the best coffee in the world. The consumption of Kopi Luwak, for the sum of 25 euros per cup, in the salons of London or New York in view arouses a real enthusiasm despite the tariffs practiced. This prohibitive tariff of coffee Kopi Luwak is partly justified by its low production (600 kg per year) and the rarity of this coffee which can only grow in the Indonesian archipelago.
Café Kopi Luwak, nuggets in excrement
The rarity of the Kopi Luwak is also due to its special provenance. Ingested initially by civet, Kopi Luwak grains are partly degraded by enzymes and acids from the stomach and intestines before being expelled with the excreta. The seeds of Kopi Luwak are then recovered, cleaned before roasting.
Café Kopi Luwak, lower prices
The origin of seeds of Kopi Luwak does not seem to put off the consumers of this coffee, ready to disburse fortunes for this precious nectar. Jean-François Oudin, owner of the "Frédéric coffees and teas" trade in Grenoble in Isère, notes that the prices of the Kopi Luwak tend to become more affordable now. Despite this decline, the commerce of Jean-François Oudin, one of the few French shops to sell Kopi Luwak, offers the packet of 250 grams of coffee at 40 euros. Purchases therefore focus mainly on festive periods at the end of the year.